ANTIGONISH, N.S. - StFX men's hockey head coach Brad Peddle is pleased to announce and welcome six new student-athletes to the X-Men hockey program for the 2015-16 season. Forwards Nathan Pancel, Holden Cook and Mark Tremaine, along with defensemen Aaron Hoyles and Cody Hendsbee and goaltender Brandon Hope will all be donning the blue and white this fall.
"We are very pleased with our recruiting class for the upcoming 2015-16 season," comments Coach Peddle. "It is a very high character group that will compliment a strong returning core of committed veterans."
"We needed to address certain needs in the off-season to prepare for another very tough and competitive AUS season, and each athlete will make a significant impact to our team in different ways. These individuals are great fits for our program and university, and we look forward to seeing all of them in X-Men hockey jerseys in the fall."
Two OHL forwards will wear the blue and white next season - Nathan Pancel from Orleans, Ont., and Holden Cook of Whitby, Ont. Pancel played 283 games in the OHL, playing four years in Sudbury before spending his 20-year old season in Peterborough. Pancel scored 119 goals and registered 219 points over that span.
"Nathan will make an immediate impact to our team and is a great addition for the X-Men hockey program," says Peddle. "He is a dynamic player who has a great shot and nose for the net, finding ways to score goals. He comes highly regarded from former coaches and teammates, brings a strong work ethic on both sides of the puck, and has the quick-strike ability we were looking to add. He will fit into our system very well."
Holden Cook played 266 games over a five year span, all with the Owen Sound Attack. He scored 65 goals and 133 points over that time.
"Holden is a highly sought after recruit who brings an element of size and skill to our team," comments Coach Peddle. "He is a strong two-way forward who has a great shot and has the ability to contribute offensively."
Peddle continues, "He is very strong in the face-off circle and was ranked by OHL coaches as one of the top face-off players in the league. Holden was one of the captains in Owen Sound and finished his junior career with an award recognizing the player who made the largest contribution to the organization over his time. He will be an outstanding addition to our program."
Also coming to the X-Men is forward Mark Tremaine from Dartmouth, N.S. Tremaine played 242 games in the QMJHL over four years with stops in Moncton, Victoriaville and most recently Saint John. Mark scored 29 goals and 108 points over that stretch.
"Mark is a very high character individual, who is a very dependable two way player," says Peddle. "He was the captain this past year in Saint John and possesses very strong leadership qualities. His work ethic is highly regarded and he is a fierce competitor. Mark is a big, strong forward who will be counted on to provide an honest two-way game to our lineup. He is great addition and will fit into our group very well."
On defense, the X-Men will be bringing in two new players to suit up for the blue and white this fall. Aaron Hoyles, of Gander, Nfld., and Cody Hendsbee of Richmond, Ont., will be joining the program.
Hoyles played in 291 QMJHL games over four years with Blainville-Boisbraind and Sherbrooke, registering 51 points and 400 penalty minutes over that stretch.
Coach Peddle comments, "Aaron is a great addition to our defence. He is a high character individual who plays a very honest game. He is very strong defender that moves the puck, plays with an edge and is tough to play against. Aaron is tough competitor, was a leader in the QMJHL, and will fit into the identity of a strong returning X-Men defense core very well."
Cody Hendsbee comes to the X-Men from the Kemptville 73's Junior 'A' program in the CCHL, scoring 103 points in 191 games. He had originally committed to play at Robert Morris University of NCAA Division 1 before deciding to pursue his hockey and education north of the border.
"Cody is big, 6'3" right-shot defenseman who comes highly regarded," says Peddle. "He has great size, skills and mobility, and shoots the puck very well. He was a captain of his junior team, a league all-star, and looked as though he was headed to NCAA, but has since decided on the CIS. He has great potential and will be a nice addition to our program."
The X-Men are adding a goaltender for the upcoming season, with the news of Brandon Hope of Canton, Michigan committing to the program. Hope played in 175 games in the OHL over five years for Sarnia, Owen Sound and Niagara.
Coach Peddle notes that Hope is a very good addition to the X-Men program. "He was highly sought after by some other AUS schools, but has decided on StFX. He is a very good goalie, is a strong competitor, and was tremendous for Niagara and their stretch run this past year."
"Brandon has some familiarity with our program with some former teammates currently on our team. He will help solidify our goaltending position and complement veteran and AUS all-star Drew Owsley very well in his graduating year."
The X-Men open 2015-16 AUS regular season play on the road when they visit Acadia on Saturday, October 10th. Their home opener will be Wednesday, October 21st, when the Saint Mary's Huskies come to town.